West Chester United overcame Junior Lone Star FC in a wild game between Eastern Pennsylvania’s last two Open Cup representatives. The intense rivalry between the teams showed with three red cards and six goals in the US Open Cup qualifying first round match.
Junior Lone Star came into the match full of confidence. Champions of the 2017 Spring season in the Philadelphia Premier Soccer League, Junior Lone Star also made its US Open Cup debut in 2017, losing in the First Round to the PDL’s Ocean City Nor’easters.
However, West Chester has historically dominated this matchup. United beat Junior Lone Star multiple times in previous years of Eastern Pennsylvania Open Cup qualifying. Then when the format switched and US Soccer took the qualifying process, United beat Lone Star again in the 2016 qualifying tournament. (West Chester eventually went on to win its first Open Cup game against the NPSL’s Fredericksburg FC on penalty kicks before losing to the USL’s Harrisburg City Islanders in Round Two.)
West Chester United and Junior Lone Star also have teams that compete in the NPSL Keystone Conference. In its debut NPSL season in 2017, West Chester finished third with a 6-2-2 record. Junior Lone Star finished sixth in the eight-team conference with a 4-5-1 record. The teams met twice in conference play, with West Chester winning both games, 3-1 and 2-0.
That dominance continued into this match. United scored first in the 12th minute when 2008 Chicago Fire draft pick Kai Kasiguran scored off a well-weighted pass to the center of the box. Just 15 minutes later, Kasiguran was involved again with an assist. His pass found Kyle Martyn, who hit a beautiful shot up-and-over the goalkeeper from 25 yards out to make it 2-0. The score was 3-0 in the 35th minute when former Junior Lone Star and Philadelphia Union Academy player Bliss Harris scored on a cross from the right side of the box.
The away side Junior Lone Star didn’t give up though and got a goal back in the 41st minute. Anthony Allison beat the offside trap, then beat the goalie to make it 3-1. Allison turned professional in 2010 for the Puerto Rico Islanders then played for five years in Scandinavia.
The second half began with a flurry of action as each team had a shot hit the post in the first three minutes of play. In the 58th minute, Junior Lone Star went down a man when the player got his second yellow card. One of the team’s coaches also got sent off.
The home team capitalized on that man advantage in the 63rd minute. Jordan Poarch dashed in the from the left wing and slotted the ball past the keeper to make it 4-1.
Junior Lone Star pushed forward and at times left just two players in the defensive half of the field. This led to plenty of chances both ways, one of which Lone Star converted. In the 80th minute, Seydou Ba capitalized on a defensive blunder to narrow the game to 4-2.
At that point, the scoring fireworks were over, but the red card craziness had just begun. In the 88th minute, Junior Lone Star shot wide, and Allison grabbed the ball before the West Chester keeper could put it down on the goalline. The United goalie took exception to this and pushed Allison, who pushed back. The ref issued the goalie a red and gave Allison his second yellow, meaning the game was now 10-on-9.
Just after West Chester finished dressing a field player in a goalie uniform, the referee decided he had seen enough and blew the game dead after one minute of stoppage time–sending United into the second round of US Open Cup qualifying.